BY TOM HESTER SR.
Gov. Christie was released from the Somerset Medical Center Thursday evening after it was determined he had been hit by an asthma attack earlier in the day. The governor has been afflicted with asthma since age 15.
Medical tests at the Somerville hospital ruled out any other health problems, Maria Comella, the governor’s communications director, told reporters outside the hospital. An EKG, blood work and chest X-rays all came back normal.
“They ruled out anything more serious,” Comella said. “Anything cardiac related has been ruled out.”
Christie, 48, governor for the past 18 months, was hurried to the hospital on Thursday morning when he complained of having trouble breathing. The health problem occurred as the governor was riding to a ceremony at the Doyle Farm on Mill Lane in Hillsborough where he was to sign legislation to increase land and natural resources preservation. The state troopers, who provide Christie protection, changed the route and he arrived at the hospital at 10:15 a.m.
Mary Pat Christie, the governor’s wife, and Todd Christie, his brother, spent the day with him at the hospital.
As he left the hospital Thursday evening, Christie said he was tired, but otherwise feeling fine. "It's been a long time, I think since law school, since I had to go to the hospital for my asthma," Christie told reporters gathered outside the hospital. "Everything else checked out fine. There were no surprises."
The governor said he told troopers to take him to the hospital after experiencing what he described as "some real lightheadedness" and shortness of breathe.
Christie added that when he began experiencing the breathing problem, “The first thing I thought about was my kids; when you have four kids you don't take chances."
Asked if his weight may have contributed to the health problem, the governor said, "I think the weight exacerbates everything. The lighter I am, the healthier I'll be. It's one of the major struggles of my life. I'm working on it."
Comella said Christie, who is attempting to confront a weight problem, last had a physical in the fall and was determined to be in good health. The governor uses an inhaler to help confront his asthma problem.
“He’s been feeling good,” Comella said. ‘I just think that today was one of those days where his asthma was affecting him a little bit more than usual.” The governor's blood pressure is 118/78, she noted.
Christie is overweight, a matter that has made him the source of fat jokes among late night comedians, and the matter became an issue in the 2009 gubernatorial campaign. He has said publicly that he has retained a personal trainer in an effort to lose weight
Comella said the governor remained in charge of the state throughout the day and had been in contact with Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and Richard Bagger, his chief of staff.
At one point, Christie tweeted Senate Majority Leader Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex) after she tweeted him that she hoped he was doing well.
“Thx 4 your kind thoughts...and BTW, Happy Birthday!” Christie tweeted the senator. Thursday is Buono’s birthday.
Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney (D-Gloucester) Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Essex) and lower house Majority Leader Joseph Cryan (D-Union), who have all locked horns with Christie in the past few weeks over state budget issues, publicly wished the governor well.
The governor also canceled his appearance Thursday evening on NJ 101.5’s “Ask the Governor” program.